[box]The following text was written by Rick & Becky Olmstead, Pastors of the Vineyard Church of the Rockies, for the recently released “Everyone Gets To Play” booklet published by the Vineyard USA.[/box]
“When we say ‘everyone gets to play’ we sometimes overlook youth, and we usually aren’t referring to the kids in our churches. At best, we let them be spectators as we participate in the ministry of Jesus. But, Jesus told us, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14b).
“Is it possible for a child to be used by God to deliver a prophetic word? I heard of an instance just recently where a child told her mother, ‘One, two, three, four… that’s how many there are of us. But one is missing. He’ll be here soon.’ She was telling her mom that their family wasn’t complete. They would have one more brother. Within two years that brother was born.
“Could a child speak a word of wisdom to an adult? A single mom who had angry blowouts with her children came to see me one day because her three-year-old daughter told her the night before, following an emotional outbreak, ‘Mommy, Jesus doesn’t like it when you treat us that way. Ask him and he will help you change.’
“Could a child’s prayer bring healing? A four-year-old child prayed ‘Jesus heal cancer’ for a woman diagnosed with breast cancer. After a trip back to the doctor she learned that she no longer had a cancerous mass in her breast.
“What if a child started a ‘God talk’ with his or her friends? Several kids from our church have. They have shared Jesus with their friends on the playground at school. One of our teenagers started a ‘God talk’ with a homeless man one very cold winter night. He ended up buying that man dinner, bringing him into his warm truck and praying for his foot condition, and then, rather than turning him out to sleep in the cold, he took the man home for the night. (The next morning his parents were very surprised.) Now that sounds like something Jesus would do!
“We know that the Holy Spirit has distributed his gifts to all believers. Does it matter that a significant portion of believers are kids and teens? After all, one out of every four people in the world today is 14 or under. Could we be missing out on 25% of the ways God would like to see his kingdom advance because we have overlooked including a whole population of youth when we say that ‘everyone gets to play?’”
-Rick & Becky Olmstead